Before the internet and google you would need to go hunt for information in a much more physical way. Whether it was going to the library or taking to the streets to dig for information, it was a much more complicated process. This is a concept that is harder to grasp for the generations who grew up with the internet.
Technology has truly done wonders for education. It has put information right at our fingertips and has become an essential part of our daily lives.
Whether its research for a college essay or settling a dinner table debate technology has made answering questions much easier and more efficient. According to a recent research, however, there is a growing amount of evidence suggesting digital devices are distracting young people in their learning environment. Students are constantly using their phones during class, engaging in social media, and browsing the internet. This is a sign of digital addiction and affects a lot of young people today.
Don’t get me wrong, smartphones are not completely evil but they also provide an endless string of distractions if misused.
Here are the most common phone distractions that lead to unproductivity.
If you’ve been anywhere near any school campus, you will see students constantly glued to their smartphones. According to a survey conducted at six different universities, students reported using their phones an average of 11 times per day in class and more than 80% indicated that such behavior caused them to pay less attention.
But why do students get distracted by technology so easily? Is it really that hard to put their phones down during class?
Research has revealed that student’s over-attachment to technology is connected to how they were brought up. Today’s students are considered to be digital natives who have grown up surrounded by technology and in turn, are constantly multitasking between devices and apps to stay connected and updated. The constant switching between different digital media has caused their attention span decrease. In fact, between 2000 and 2017, the average human attention span has dropped from twelve seconds to eight. That’s a shorter attention span than a goldfish! This often means when the lecture becomes too slow to follow, out comes the phone.
More and more educators are beginning to realize the negative effects of technology in the learning environment and this has lead to strict phone regulations in schools.
But will this make a difference?
The short answer is YES!
A study revealed that schools located in Birmingham, London, Leicester, and Manchester that banned phones experienced an improvement in their students’ test scores. Low-achieving students experienced an increase in their test scores which made them 4% more likely to pass the exams. The ban also benefited special needs students who experienced a 10% increase in their exam scores and low-income students experienced a 12% increase. According to Richard Murphy, one of the main proponents of the study, the impact on students of banning their phones is equivalent to an additional hour a week in school, or to increasing the school year by five days.
A research published in Educational Psychology revealed that using electronic devices for non-academic purposes in colleges negatively affected academic performance. The same study found that divided attention did not reduce comprehension of the lecture as measured by within-class quiz questions but it reduced long-term retention which impaired subsequent unit exam and final exam performance.
These studies show that when attempting to multitask, it’s impossible to complete the two tasks successfully or efficiently. In short, we have to pay attention to learn. Limiting the use of phones both inside and outside the classroom does wonders for students’ concentration and productivity.
According to a survey conducted by Common Sense Media, 50% of teenagers in America are addicted to their devices and 72% feels pressured to respond immediately to texts, notifications, and messages through social media. As a parent, what can you do to help your child?
Your kids can still use their phones but it’s important to set limits on their usage. Some rules that you can implement are: no smartphones at meals, handing over the phones during exam weeks, turning off smartphones before bed, and absolutely no smartphones until homework is completed.
Another important thing that most parents overlook is being a good example when it comes to using of technology. You can’t tell your kids that their phone usage is harmful when you can’t put yours down.
There are apps now (warning: shameless self-promotion alert) that can help you limit your child’s phone usage (as well as yours) if you feel like you need them. A great example is our very own BOLDFISH app. It is a productivity app that nurtures digital wellness by blocking any of your in-phone distractions. The app aims to help people be more mindful about their app consumption by being the buffer between users and digital addiction. For more information, visit goboldfish.com!